Feeding Your Family – Without a Kitchen

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In one week my husband and I will begin our second kitchen remodel this year.  It wasn’t supposed to be this way… but we moved.  The good news is that I learned a lot the first time.  Not about cabinets, appliances, electrical or plumbing although I did learn a little about that.  I’m talking about me being unprepared in the meal department.  I learned a lot about how much it sucks to not have a kitchen while going about your daily routine.

This time I have a couple of ideas I am going to try.  My goal is to eat as close to normal as possible.  That means an occasional pizza night and an occasional meal out but for the most part, it’s home cooked at our own table as a family.  Maybe I’m being unrealistic…  Of course I expect a certain degree of upheaval but I’m also sure that there are also simple solutions that help make it easier.  Please leave a comment below with other ideas you have or things did you do to make the transition period go smoothly.  These are the two I’ve come up with so far.

Idea #1 – Paper and plastic.  I recycle, I try really hard not to be wasteful but I think I may have to let someone else save the planet this month.  Disposable dishes and utensils may be the ticket.  Last time I hauled my dishes to my friends house but now I live in a different state with no friends.  People have suggested washing dishes in the bathtub but I have two words for that, ick and eww.

Idea #2 – I am going to try some of the make ahead crock pot meals listed here.  I’m pretty sure this is sheer genius.  I just hope they taste good. I got five and a half meals put together last night.  It was six but then I dumped half of the Chicken Pesto Penne on the floor.  Giant mess, looked like vomit but smelled good.  I should have taken a picture of that!  -TJ

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Fiesta Chicken Soup DSC_0014

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Beef Tips

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Vacation Mission: Cali-Stylin’ Part 2

Today was a long, hard, vacation planning day!  Poor me, I know.  I would want to slap me too.  Anaheim/Disneyland is part 1 of our trip.  Beach/LEGOLAND is Part 2.  I started this day thinking that after all of yesterday’s research, I had finally picked the perfect place for part 2!  First thing this morning, feeling super proud of myself, Bam! I made the reservation.  Then something caught my eye and I looked closer at the ‘resort’ which turned out to be very disappointing based on the guest’s photos.  Question:  How could I have possibly made an uninformed decision?  Answer: If you are trying to sell something you don’t point out the flaws!

So today, roughly 30 minutes after making the reservation I decided to cancel it.  Then I spent my second full day of really important research feeling like I was never going to get the place I wanted for the price I wanted.  Finally I went back to Vacation Rentals By Owner which I dismissed early in yesterday’s research for reasons I don’t remember.

Coming from a cold wintry wonderland we really wanted to make sure the kids got to experience the beach.  We were adamant that we had a place ON THE BEACH.  Then started thinking about how much salt water sucks when you aren’t used to it and wave after wave knocks you down.  Eyes burn, nose burns, can’t taste anything but salt, sand in the bum.  Maybe that won’t be awesome, maybe that’s a novelty.  Should probably have a decent pool if the kids hate the beach.  Should NOT stay on the beach.  Have I mentioned I’m an over-thinker?

Regrouped and decided on a place I found on VRBO which is at worst a time share but at best a legit condominium complex.  Pool, beach, kitchen, YAY!  Let’s hope they accept my request…  By the way LEGOLAND Hotel, be reasonable to us little people (a.k.a. minions).  Are you kidding me?  Try to remember who keeps you in business.  I suppose it’s similar to the shaft we get on the purchase price of Legos (which we keep buying).  Maybe they are in fact – marketing geniuses.  – TJ

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Vacation Mission: Cali-Stylin’ Part 1

Recently we decided to take our moderately large family to the Happiest Place on Earth; Disneyland.  We’ve never taken our kids before and now that the ages are 14, 11, 10 and 7 we thought it would be the perfect time.  We’ve talked about doing this for years but between worrying about the kids being to young and how expensive it is we always pushed the idea aside and went camping instead.

So, we finally make the commitment to the kids and it’s time for step 1: Reservations.  Whenever I tried to make reservations I would get stalled because I couldn’t find a room big enough and the airlines wouldn’t let me search for more than five.  I quit and got frustrated more than once thinking how odd it was that I was having such a hard time.  Wondering if it was operator error or if the websites just don’t accommodate families larger than five and thinking maybe I should call.

Then yesterday the planets aligned and it all fell into place!  I’m talking serious good fortune (or what seems like it to me).  Maybe that’s what they do, frustrate the hell out of you then when something works you are overjoyed and pounce on it.  Maybe I was set up but never the less, my first inquiry yesterday took me right to the suites for larger families and the airline website let me put in 6 (not 5) passengers!  Even better – the package I purchased and the flights were even cheaper than expected.

Now for step 2: Activities.  This is where hopefully some readers out there can help.  What are the must see or must do activities in Disneyland and California Adventure for various ages?  The boys are 14 & 10, the girls are 11 & 7 and I’m pretty sure they won’t all be loving the same things.  I was there with my mom and aunts last year for a fun trip with my 90-year-old grandpa who loves Disneyland.  I didn’t do too much recon while I was there but I saw enough that it looks like there is a lot more for the girls than the boys.  Thoughts, advice, tips?  I would love to hear your suggestions!  -TJ

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Giant Lego Gandalf at the Lego store in Downtown Disney!